Tim Mitchell
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Career

Making a Difference: Andy Warren

Since I started working as a data professional some 15 years ago, I’ve had an enjoyable and successful career. I attribute the successes I’ve had to hard work, a good bit of luck, and having help from others who have walked the same path before me. Today, I want to recognize one of those folks in particular. A Long Line…


community

Some Thoughts on Community, Leadership, and Continuous Improvement

The SQL Server community is just awesome. I can’t say that enough. I may sound like a broken record when I keep repeating these things, but I owe a great deal to the community. I’ve worked hard in my career, but I am certain I would not be where I am today were it not for the connections and relationships…


shortcuts

The Value of Shortcuts

Decades ago when I was working as a retail clerk, I had a boss named Billy. Billy was a pragmatic guy who had worked in retail most of his adult life, and was full of practical tidbits of advice. He also had no tolerance for inefficiency, and was quick to point out when there was a more effective way to…


To Learn Teach

To Learn, Teach

Back before I started doing technical presentations or writing blog posts, I frequently found myself in awe at those who did those things. Watching someone present on a deeply technical topic or reading an article about a complex concept always made me wonder what chain of experiences would give the writer or author that type of encyclopedic knowledge about a…


Picking the right team

Picking The Right Team

Years ago, back before I became a consultant, a job search led me to an interview with a technical company. The company was large enough to offer a variety of challenges with room for advancement, but wasn’t so big that one would get lost in a sea of employees. The company’s line of business was one that I was already…


best practices

When Best Practices Aren’t Best

Most everyone is familiar with the term best practices. This phrase describes an industry-specific design or methodology that can be applied to most problems in a given domain. Data professionals, carpenters, medical practitioners, retail professionals, hair stylists, and most any other craftsperson will learn through experience a set of rules that usually govern how to do a thing. That holds…


Career Advice

The One Piece of Career Advice I Wish I’d Gotten

Over the years, I’ve been approached numerous times with requests for advice from folks who are looking to get started in technical careers. Some of these questions come from new or soon-to-be college graduates who are just starting their journey, while others are from experienced professionals looking to move into technical roles. While I do my best to advise them…


Knowing Your Data

Knowing Your Data

Is it possible to be an effective data professional without knowing anything about the domain of data you support? I remember having a conversation a few years ago with a friend of mine, a fellow data practitioner. In his role as a database administrator, he asserted, he could do his job without knowing anything about the underlying data. His argument…


Solving the Wrong Problem

Trying to Solve the Wrong Problem

Some time back, while pulling into a local coffee shop, I spotted a stranded motorist in the parking lot. Per the Texan code of ethics, I was duty bound to walk over and offer my assistance, and in doing so I discovered that someone else had already stopped to help. The motorist was in the driver’s seat turning the key…


Why Before How

Why Before How

I’ve spent a lot of time browsing and participating in online technical forums. In my early years in the industry I asked a lot of questions, and as my skills grew I evolved to the point where I was answering more questions than I was asking. The questions and answers I encountered were quite varied, but there was one specific…